Vintage Apple TV and Alexa

Originally published at:


That picture quality. Oof. I suddenly feel like my childhood was spent in a cave, gnawing on mammoth bones.


Months to plug in a few bits he probably already had laying around or could pick up at a thrift shop?

(Okay, okay, maybe the HDMI-RCA came by slow boat from China.)

(Wut? RTFA? WTFV? But why? lool )

Been there done that. There is a version of roku with rca outputs. (What you see in this image is the roku screensaver) Run that through a vcr or other device with coaxial output and you can connect it to pretty much any tv. Mine is from 1976. It has two antenna screws on the back rather than a cable jack but that’s only a matter of a simple adapter. Any old school Atari fans will remember those two screws. image
In fact if you use the roku you can stream not just Netflix but if you install the plex app you can steam any video from your computer. Great for all those VHS tapes you’ve converted that look like garbage on an HD tv

Note that the picture above has a moire distortion pattern happening. That’s because of my phone camera and the interlacing of the tv I think. The image looks crisp to the human eye


You ask why? Well there’s a lot of old tv shows made for this format that you can find streaming. And they look low res on a modern tv but look great on a CRT. Plus, you know, novelty and nostalgia.


Using Pi/Kodi with RCA and a newer generation of tube TV with video input skips a couple of steps, but still looks awful.

Bravo, but he could have taken it just ONE step further and documented this on a VHS-C camcorder in SLP-mode rather than a Smart Phone.


I’m older, we ate other unsuspecting humans that passed by our cave. That’s entertainment…


Eat the humans? You were lucky. We spent our days staring at the shadows of the creatures passing by on our cave wall and thinking that was the whole world.


Ah yes, VCR as universal signal converter!

I remember the days of using a VCR as a tuner for my Commodore 1702 computer monitor. The first consumer level monitor with S video.

Meanwhile it seemed everyone was connecting their TVs with the antenna signal from VCR even if they has RCA inputs, just out of habit. I suppose they were just prescient hipsters ahead of their time.

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Not every problem deserves to be solved.

He could have learned to play the piano.

  1. This does not seem that technically difficult. Unadvisable, yes, but once you get past HDCP issues, I don’t see any real obstacle.

  2. Aspect is fucked. And while some people (for who knows what reason) legitmately don’t seem to notice/care, I put “mainting the native aspect ratio” right up there with “has sound” as fundamentally critical.


ive had mixed results with my roku. it seems to vary by app. Watching a standard definition classic television show like cheers through netflix on my roku on a CRT works perfectly and doesnt stretch or distort the image. Some standard def youtube videos have the left and right side inexplicably cropped off (which might make sense for a wider video). standard def Plex videos played through a roku play just fine also. widescreen videos in general just have black “letterboxing” at the top and bottom of the screen.

by the way, if you wanna do what I did you need this older model of roku with composite out:

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Aspect is only correct for the guy sitting in the middle, looking squarely at the set, in the one seat that gets the correct stereo balance. Are you that guy? You sound like that guy.


I only consume media in a VR headset, obviously.

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We used to smoke weed out of giant bowls at the cemetery.


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Sometimes I make a 640x480 pixel window on a 4k monitor, just to see how tiny it is. It’s still a better picture than any of those old CRT broadcast TVs could make.

Also, SatanVision…

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theres something magic about the way the video is projected inside a CRT. I know it’s low res (even less than 640 by 480 when you consider interlacing) and yet… the way it blurs the “pixels” (if you can call it that) it doesn’t feel so low res. I still think my NES and ATARI look better on a CRT than on any emulator I’ve used.

if you wanna go down a rabbit hole about pixels and CRT resolution, this guy has a couple good videos on the subject: